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La Fheile Padraig This means Saint Patrick's day in Irish. Irish is the traditional language of Ireland. A saint it an important person in the Christian religion. Patrick is Ireland's saint. In Ireland we often call it Paddy’s Day because Paddy is a nickname for Patrick. Many people in Ireland are called Patrick or Paddy now.
What is Saint Patrick’s Day? Saint Patrick's Day is an Irish festival celebrated all over the world. Many Irish people have moved to new countries and today over 35 million people around the world call themselves Irish, especially in America, where the Irish were one of the largest immigrant groups. Cities like London, Sydney, York, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco had many Irish emigrants, especially in the police, politics, construction and the fire departments. These people celebrate being Irish on the 17th of March, and invite everybody else to be Irish for the day too with parades, music and parties.
Who was Saint Patrick? Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. He was the Bishop who converted the Irish from their old religions to the Christian religion in the 5th century AD. Today, almost everybody in Ireland is from a Christian tradition. Saint Patrick used a three leafed plant called shamrock to explain about the Christian god, now that plant is a famous symbol of Ireland. He was a British boy who was captured as a slave by Irish pirates. For many years he worked as a Shepard but then he escaped. After many years, when he became a bishop, he returned to Ireland to tell them about the Christian religion. There are many magical myths and stories about his time in Ireland.
Where is Ireland Ireland is a small island on the western edge of Europe. It is in the Atlantic Ocean separated by the Irish sea from Britain. There are only 5 million people now but in the past there were over 10 million, many have emigrated to live in other countries.
Today Ireland and the U.K. are two different countries. There are 32 counties in Ireland. 26 counties are part of an independent ‘Republic of Ireland’, but 6 counties in the north are still part of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. The independent republic of Ireland speaks English but has it’s own government, army and laws. Instead of the Queen it has a president and instead of the pound it uses the euro.
The Leprechaun is a famous symbol of Ireland. These little magical men were cheeky and mischievous. The liked trouble, but if you caught one, he had to give you a pot of gold, usually found under a rainbow. But be careful, if you didn’t look at him, he could disappear. Irish mythology is full of many funny and scary creatures and legends.